Manama – Bahrain: Citi today inaugurated a global technology hub at its premises in Bahrain. The Citi technology hub, launched as part of a long-term strategic partnership with Tamkeen and the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), will be one of the most advanced in the region with the aim of creating 1,000 coding jobs over the next ten years.
Technology hubs support many of Citi’s global businesses and clients and accelerate the development of digital solutions. Citi selected Bahrain as the location of its new technology hub for several reasons, including availability of skilled workforce, transparent regulations and government support.
Ala’a Saeed, Citi FX’s Global Head of Electronic Platforms & Distribution, said: “Citi’s industry-leading global foreign exchange business will be the first to recruit technologists at the technology hub. Our initial focus in Bahrain will be on engineering for Citi’s flagship proprietary platforms, working to enhance execution and connectivity capabilities across FX trading and analytics systems.
“Over time, the technology hub in Bahrain will scale to support Citi Markets and Citi’s Institutional Client Group more broadly, extending the scope of capabilities developed locally even further,” continued Ala’a.
Central to this programme is TAMKEEN, the Kingdom’s Labour Fund, which aims as part of its efforts to create new job opportunities and upskill individuals in order to boost their competitiveness and employability in the private sector, and further their career development through programmes which enable them to enter international markets, becoming leaders in their fields.
Citi Bahrain’s Chief Executive Officer, Michel Sawaya, commented: “The pace of automation and digitalization accelerated rapidly in the past two years across the financial industry. Our new technology hub in Bahrain will allow us to rapidly scale to meet increasing global client demand for electronic solutions.”
He added, “We are thrilled to have the hub here and tap into Bahrain’s pool of diverse talent to hire advanced technologists with a strong business background, and I am certain that the hub will succeed in creating technology that will benefit our clients globally.”
Citi Head for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Elissar Farah Antonios, said: “At Citi, we’re investing heavily in digital technologies and platforms to serve our clients and our businesses across the globe. The new technology hub brings us a step closer to providing a better client experience in a world that is highly digitized and contributing significantly to our clients’ success. It also highlights our commitment to the Kingdom of Bahrain as a strategic hub for innovation.”
H.E. Hussain Mohammed Rajab, Tamkeen’s Chief Executive highlighted the importance of such programmes for potential investors to realize the depth of quality talent available in Bahrain.
He said, “Bahrain has a proven track record that reflects the readiness and global competitiveness of its local workforce, enhancing the Kingdom’s position in attracting direct investment across all priority sectors. We highly value the strategic partnership with EDB and all stakeholders in Team Bahrain where Tamkeen aims to achieve economic growth and impact by supporting the private sector towards productivity, innovation, digitization, internationalization, and building the human capital advantage, especially in technology and emerging skills.
Bahrain EDB’s Chief Executive, H.E. Khalid Humaidan said: “Bahrain has been renowned for its solid foundations in the Financial Services sector for decades. The programme that we have agreed with Citi is a perfect example of the strides we are taking to evolve our economy and remain at the forefront of digital transformation. The opportunity this represents for us as a Kingdom is such that we can impact the world from Bahrain, with Bahraini talent supporting Citi’s ambitions to deliver results all across the globe.”
“At the EDB, we continue to go across the world looking to attract global benchmark companies like Citi to establish operations in the Kingdom and benefit from our world-class infrastructure and talent. We are extremely excited to enter into the next phase of our relationship with Citi and look forward to seeing them thrive in the Kingdom,” he continued.
Citi has been present in the MENA region for more than 50 years. Its institutional capabilities in the region include Corporate & Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Sales & Trading, Transactions Services, Equity Research, and Islamic Banking. Citi’s Consumer Banking services in MENA cover the UAE and Bahrain, while it maintains close relationships with affluent and high-net-worth clients in the region through Citi Global Wealth.